What happened with this wiring?


Well-Known Member
Feb 24, 2004
DFW, Tx.
@JonCarter Not recommended Jon, largely due to cold flow migrating away from the pressure of the bolt or screw. Ferrules are precisely sized by wire gauge, keep all the strands contained from escaping and protect the strands from damage; correctly sized and crimped Sta-kon / crimp-on pin terminals do likewise. I believe @STEVETERRY was in agreement with me but felt few contractors would source or employ correctly sized ferrules or Sta-kon pin terminals. Tinning stranded, and fine stranded, conductors is a fine idea prior to soldering in place but NOT when they're about to have a bolt screwed down on them leaving them free to migrate away from the point of applied pressure.
Ron Hebbard

As much as I hate to admit it, I've landed terminals this way too. Not only that, but they're at the sockets of my VL500's which probably reach a temperature close enough to reflow solder! They haven't failed yet, but I've been meaning to re-terminate these for a few *cough* years now...


Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Mar 29, 2003
Have a lot of these same barrier strips in stock - have not used in years, believe off CAE gear etc. in common. Stuff used in the 90's. Not the best construction in barrier strip, but adiquate for the time in what was available. Have not used or looked at them in many years, but believe these barrier strips are not screw down but clamping type. Would have to verify, but fairly certain clamp down. No warranty I would say as I think modern tech for the day. Sorry. Long past their expected service life in I certainly don't use them these days - long replaced but do remember them as OK for the technology of the day.

A 575w fixture would not have enough current flow so as to allow for expansion and contraction of conductor strands. Also, if the screw terminal was not tensioned sufficienty, it would become a problem sooner, than how long later? Could take time in browning etc. but probabably not years in failing - this assuming not a touring distro where QD terminals loosen up with wiggling across the country. Could still have been the problem in a time line - say three 575w fixtre per circuit with a only semi-tightened terminal.

Most likely and in considering the 3x 1Kw scoops, perhaps dimmed... and a combination of damage even after the intitial use. Who knows other than refined down to some likely causes. Like the idea of inspection/maintenance. My department has to inspect yearly multiple dozens of racks, and even inspect factory new ones... Now how did that screw driver get left in there? We are writing the standards for AC racks one of our suppliers are doing - why are not the terminals on donuts for current reading at least siliconed sealed so they cannot roll and conduct. Amongst many many notes over the years. Many notes of what is our failure points and product ugrades even today. Soco head insert rubber spinning with bad keyway's... many in the works solutions generated by my department vendors are doing.

Making safe is a never ending process even with the most modern gear.

MNicolai's thoughs are useful even if he had to further explain what he was thinking that I understood, as with a debate as per a student/employee's need to and ability to address fixing of stuff. If something is marked off as do not use - lots of breaker lockouts on the market... as per a rule, if marked, a student is a student, but as per a reporter questioning why...

Tough position to be in. It's a debate and discussions of morals, process and advancing. Safety, yes.. but what went bad by way of it burning out, and how it did by working properly in failure will not have started a fire. Let's not go to an extreme for this problems in solving - not factual reasons. Experts on the forum no doubt know this is not a fire in the theater awaiting. The conductors seemingly in the equpimpent barrier sttip in failing did their job in no longer working and I would think in seeing the photos not conducting even if breakers were turned on.

Something that should have been addressed... Yes! Easy to fix, also Yes! Why not addressed! Yes also in liking the school board type question of why an easy fix (to repair at least back to standards of install) was not addressed, or could not be now? This to past standard or as advised above for a few hours for an electrician or school maintenance staff electrician to replace the terminal block with.

I remember once way back when, I finally got grounded the 1st electric to a 1911 theater... One miswire or patch somewhere between me and my boss, and he said Nope... rip it out, go back to non-grounded. He had these ground fault isolation rigging balls rigged between the electric rigging wires (Bronze sash cord) and the actual wires of the grid and was fine with that. This was mid-90's. Though he did let me ground almost everything else on stage. I have no doubts years later everything there was upgraded, just not ready yet. I tried, and if we had trouble shooted further, could have grounded the system. But we were still using 80 year old origional wiring even that said.

Amongst other things I got from the 1911 theater, in paying large in helping them years later after employee, and paying historic value over in some cases zero resale value, was an actual period soup can PAR 38 can - with the home center markings for it's steel yoke. Above and beyond that in historic value in how it was done, and I have a sample of how I also did it early in the years... a personal victory, in some way to me personally. A Chicago Cinema Equipment 4.1/2" PC Spotlight c. 1911. I acquired it, and re-wired it and restored it. Neutral/ground short gone - historic in probably 50 years of not fixing it, and just plugging it in correctly. This was the pin-rail light. It wasn't the crow's foot porcelain plugged spiral staircase light plugs, more like a NEMA L1-15 - though not polorized if existed. Twist lock, not polorized or grounded. If you plugged it in the wrong way, it would be bad. Didn't realize why they were saying that was a bad thing - didn't understand how/why. Suppose I Un-plugged and changed the lamp over the pin-rail index light at some point. Later, perhaps during pre-production, I was bending or streightening cyc weight 1/2" sch 40 pipe weight between some parts of the fly system parts. I got sparks! No shock, but this was certainly concerning for me. Cause was me plugging in backwards that index light. Just reverse the plug. Obviously I supplied my own fixture to light the pinrail, and was busy there inb upgrading other stuff, and the 90's when i was lookibng to become a TD and learning my trade.

Almost became a TD at a large Ciciro Theater, but a notorious Mayor got in the way of that expansion from home theater to another in management of it - probably not proper payoff in deal for re-opening the theater not done and me not it's TD... alternate universe. Hope it helps in tales of the past. Wonder in the later 90's what it would have been like to have my own theater when such a concept of old school I dreamed of. Option was there, dream was there. A shame, but perhaps the corrupt Mayor did a favor to me in providing a different time line - better.
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Active Member
Oct 15, 2008
Brooklyn NY
Do you know loads? Using S4 Multi Par - 3 or 4 X 575 or 3 X 750?

I would definitely not declare this safe. Not with that much char.
Agree with Bill - the wires show long term overload stress...cooking... due to an overloaded circuit and probably loose terminals - the number one cause of electrical fires. I would not use those charred terminals and wire
again and re-torque the rest.

Ben Stiegler

Well-Known Member
Aug 3, 2017
Sf Bay Area
Another route would be finding the CFO/CRO - that's chief Risk mgmt officer - often the same person in a school district. That person is very, very motivated to avoid liability and to ensure things that might cause insurance policies to be cancelled or rise in cost are addressed. Then you're working from the top down vs. trying to break thru the bottom-up of the over-taxed maintenance dept who hasn't ever seen that much complexity in a j-box before, and is reflexly afraid to touch/own it.

I too have taken risks in pointing out risks - generally erring on protecting the public vs. my own position. But I hope I've gotten better at it over the years. Odd that I saw this today ... I just wrote a note this AM to a worship facility that I helped install many years ago, where I've had lingering concerns about the speaker mounting integrity in a seismically active area.
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